April 2014 marks the 46th anniversary of the passage of the 1968 landmark U.S. Fair Housing Act. Title VII of the Civil Right Act of 1968 strives to ensure equal housing opportunity for all and prohibits housing discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, and family status.

“Fair Housing Month is an opportunity to recommit to the principle that fair housing is an essential part of everything we do. REALTORS® play a vital role in ensuring fair housing for all and strive to make home ownership accessible to everyone,” says David Tonna, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®.

Article 10 of the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics provides that, “REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. REALTORS® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. REALTORS®, in their real estate employment practices, shall not discriminate against any person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”

Home sellers, home seekers, and real estate professionals all have rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing law:
• Home sellers or landlords are required under the law not to discriminate in the sale, rental and financing of property on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. They cannot instruct the licensed broker or salesperson acting as their agent to convey for them any limitations in the sale or rental because the real estate professional is also bound by law not to discriminate. A home seller or landlord cannot establish discriminatory terms or conditions in the purchase or rental; deny that housing is available, or advertise that the property is available only to persons of a certain race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.

• Home seekers have the right to expect that housing will be available to them without discrimination or other limitations based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. This includes the right to expect housing in their price range made available to them without discrimination; equal professional service; the opportunity to consider a broad range of housing choices; no discriminatory limitations on communities or locations of housing; no discrimination in the financing, appraising, or insuring of housing; reasonable accommodations in rules, practices and procedures for persons with disabilities; non-discriminatory terms and conditions for the sale, rental, financing, or insuring of a dwelling; to be free from harassment or intimidation for exercising their fair housing rights.

• Agents in a real estate transaction are prohibited by law from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. A request from the home seller or landlord to act in a discriminatory manner in the sale, lease or rental cannot legally be fulfilled by the real estate professional.

Complaints alleging discrimination in housing may be filed with the nearest HUD office, or by contacting them at http://www.hud.gov.

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